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Monday, February 26, 2007

Bohol Province

Bohol is an island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region. Its capital is Tagbilaran City. It is the 10th largest island in the country, securely nestled in the heart of the Visayas. To the west of Bohol is Cebu, to the northeast is the island of Leyte and to the south, across the Bohol Sea is Mindanao.

Bohol is a popular tourist destination with its beaches and resorts. The Chocolate Hills, numerous mounds of limestone formation, is the most popular attraction. The island of Panglao, located just southwest of Tagbilaran City, is home to some of the finest beaches in the country. The Philippine Tarsier, considered by some to be the smallest primate, is indigenous to the island.

Boholanos refer to their island homeland as the 'Republic of Bohol' with both conviction and pride. A narrow strait separates the island of Cebu and Bohol and both share a common language, but the Boholanos retain a conscious distinction from the Cebuanos.

Hills dominate the island of Bohol. Two ranges run roughly parallel on the northwest and the southeast. An interior plateau is dominated by limestone hills. In Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan, these hills form near perfect cones in great numbers and are collectively referred to as the Chocolate Hills.

Bohol's climate is generally dry, with maximum rainfall between the months of June and October. The interior is cooler than the coast.
Bohol is the home province of Carlos P. Garcia, the fourth President of the Republic of the Philippines (1957-1960) who was born in Talibon, Bohol.

Geography

The Island of Bohol is oval-shaped mainland surrounded with 73 smaller islands, having a gently rolling terrain, ideal for commercial and industrial site development. Bohol's mountainous interior is home to rare and endangered flora and fauna. At certain points, hills drop steeply to the coast from a maximum elevation of 870 meters above sea level. The interior uplands are fit for agro-forestry and high value agricultural production. The central and northern lowlands have also fertile grounds and abundant water supply. Over a hundred caves have been identified, the biggest of which is found in the eastern part which makes Bohol ideal for spelunking adventures. The Chocolate Hills in Carmen, Bohol are considered one of Philippine's natural wonders and Bohol is often referred to as the Jewel of the Philippines. They are hills made of limestone leftover from coral reefs during the ice age when the island was submerged. They turn brown during the summer, hence their name.

Most beaches are of white sand. The sand is often of such high quality that it is exported to other beaches in the world. The most well known of these beaches are in Panglao Island, and there, numerous islets have similar, yet untouched and pristine beaches.

The Loboc River is the most famous, running from the southeastern coast to the center of the island. It is famous for its River Cruise going up to its water source. The largest, Inabanga River, runs in the northern part of the province.

Numerous waterfalls and caves are scattered across the island, including the beautiful Mag-Aso falls in Antequera. Mag-Aso means smoke in the native tongue. The water is cool and often creates a mist in humid mornings which can hide the falls.

Panglao is a small island southwest of the main island, connected by a causeway to Tagbilaran. It is famous for its diving locations and routinely listed as one of the top ten diving locations in the world. Numerous tourist resorts dot the southern beaches and cater to divers from around the world.

Early History

The people of Bohol are said to be the descendants of the last group of inhabitants who settled in the Philippines called pintados or “tattooed ones.” Boholanos had already a culture of their own as evidence by the artifacts dug at Mansasa, Tagbilaran, and in Dauis and Panglao.

Bohol is derived from the word Bo-ho or Bo-ol. The island was the seat of the first international treaty of peace and unity between the native king Datu Sikatuna, and Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, on March 16, 1565 through a blood compact alliance known today by many Filipinos as the Sandugo.

Spanish Colonial Period

The earliest significant contact of the island with Spain occurred in 1565. In that year on March 25 (March 16 in the Julian Calendar), a Spanish explorer named Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived in Bohol to look for spiaces and gold. After convincing the native chieftains that they were not Portuguese people (who raided the islands of Mactan in 1521), he made a peace pact with Datu Sikatuna. This pact was signified with a blood compact between the two men. This event, called the Sandugo (one blood), is celebrated in Bohol every year during the Sandugo Festival. The Sandugo or blood compact is also depicted on Bohol's provincial flag and the Bohol provincial seal .

Two significant revolts occurred in Bohol during the Spanish Era. One was the Tamblot University in 1561, which was led by Tamblot, a babaylan or native priest. The other was the famous Dagohoy Rebellion, considered as the longest rebellion in Philippine history. This rebellion was led by Francisco Dagohoy, also known as Francisco Sendrijas, from 1744 to 1829.

Politically, Bohol was administrated as a residencia of Cebu. It became a separate politico-military province on July 22, 1854 together with Siquijor. A census in 1879 found Bohol with a population of 253,103 distributed among 34 municipalities.

U.S. Intervention And Occupation

After the United States defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War, the U.S. bought the entire Philippine islands. However, under the newly proclaimed independent government established by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, which was not recognized by the US, Bohol was governed as a Gobierno de Canton.

During the resulting Philippine-American War, American troops under Major Henry Hale landed in Tagbilaran and took over the island. He hired and outfitted Pedro Samson to build a police force for the island. Instead Samson took his troops and equipment into the interior of Bohol and began an insurgency.

After being massacred in their first battle, Samson turned to guerilla tactics and influenced the interior of the island while Hale's forces controlled the outer edge and Tagbilaran City. In January, 1901, the fighting had reached a lull. In May, 1901 an American soldier was murdered by the fiancé' of a woman he had assaulted. In retaliation, Capt. Andrew S. Rowan, the soldier's commander, ordered the burning of the town of Jagna. This infuriated the population of Bohol and reignited the insurrection.

At first Rowan was suspended from duty for this decision. But eventually support for burning villages increased in the military command. The burnings continued, usually as a reaction to collaboration. In addition, livestock was destroyed and prominent civilians tortured. Water cure was a commonly used torture technique. By the end of the fighting, American troops had burned 16-20 villages. Major Edwin F. Glenn, who had personally approved the tortures, was later courts-married for the crime.

Samson and his men surrendered on December 23, 1901 after being granted amnesty and taking a loyalty oath. The war largely ended at this time. However, a month later Samson had rearmed and ordered the killing of J. R. Hegg, the provincial supervisor. This inflamed passions and almost restarted the war. But war did not resume and the last American troops left in February, 1902.

On March 10, 1917, the Americans made Bohol a separate province under Act 2711 (which also established most of the other Philippine provinces).

Japanese Occupation

The Japanese Imperial Army landed in Tagbilaran on May 17, 1942. Boholanos struggled unsuccessfully to provide resistance against the Japanese forces. Bohol was later liberated by American troops on April 11, 1945.

Population

According to the 2000 census, there are a total of 1,137,268 Boholanos or Bol-anon, as the residents of Bohol call themselves. The same census also states that Bohol has 209,588 households with an average household size of 5.41 persons, significantly higher than the national average of 4.99. The annual growth rate is 2.92%, higher than the national growth rate of 2.36%. With this growth rate, Bohol's population will double in 24 years. Life expectancy at birth is estimated at 68.19 for the males and 72.93 for the females for the period 2000–2005.
This is lower than that of Cebu but higher than that of Negors Oriental and Siquijor.

Climate

Unlike Luzon and the northern part of Visayas, Bohol is mostly unaffected by the numerous typhoons that hit the country. The weather is mostly mild all year round. When typhoons do hit the island, they usually cross quickly and are no longer powerful, their energy dissipated by the mountains in Leyte and Samar. From November to April, the northeast monsoon (amihan) prevails. Except for a rare shower, this is the mildest time of the year. Daytime temperatures average 28°C, cooling down at night to around 25°C. The summer season from May to July brings higher temperatures and very humid days. From August to October is the southwest monsoon (habagat). The weather during this season is not very predictable, with weeks of calm weather alternating with rainy days. It can rain any day of the year, but you wil have more chance for a heavy shower from November to January. If you want to see the Chocolate Hills in their "Chocolate" color, you will have to go their during the "Summer.

Native Languages

The main language spoken in Bohol is Boholano. Like Cebuano, its close neighbour, Boholano is a Visayan speech variety. Tagalog, Chinese, and English are also spoken by many of the residents. The minority Eskayan language is also taught in community schools in Biabas (Guindulman), Taytay (Duero) and Lundag (Pilar) but has no mother-tongue speakers.

Religion

The majority of the population is Roman Catholic. Adherents of other Christian denominations like the Protestants and Iglesia ni Cristo account for a significant part of the remainder.

Education

The literacy rate of the province of Bohol is high at 93%.

Political

The province of Bohol is a first-class A province subdivided into 3 congressional districts, 47 municipalities and 1 city. It has 1,109 barangays (1,114 barangays per NEDA) with a total population of 1,137,268 (2000) and an average household size of 5.41. Its capital is Tagbilaran City.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.com